British Columbia Canada plans vaccine passport for restaurants and sporting events
VANCOUVER, Aug.23 (Reuters) – The Canadian province of British Columbia will require customers of non-essential businesses such as restaurants and movie theaters to be vaccinated against COVID-19 starting September 13, the government said on Monday.
The vaccine requirement will also cover fitness studios as well as indoor sporting events, concerts, weddings and other private and public social events, health officials said.
British Columbia, Canada’s westernmost province, reports some of the country’s highest rates of new COVID-19 cases per capita and recently mandatory vaccines for long-term care home staff. The province reported 663 new cases on Friday, the most recent data available. Read more
People wishing to enter a non-essential business must have at least one dose of the vaccine starting September 13 and both doses by October 24, Premier John Horgan said.
“There is no reason that those who wish to participate in the social and economic life of our community cannot take this next step and get this safe and effective vaccine,” Horgan told reporters.
Quebec was the first province to introduce vaccine passports for non-essential businesses earlier in August.
Vaccination warrants are becoming an electoral issue in the current federal election in Canada, which Prime Minister Justin Trudeau called on August 15.
Trudeau’s center-left Liberal Party introduced mandatory vaccines for federal workers before the election was called and supported calls for more mandates, as did left-wing New Democrats. The Conservative Party of Canada has said that such mandates will hamper individual freedom. Read more
Currently, 73% of Canadians aged 12 and over are fully immunized, according to government data. The majority of Canadians are in favor of blanket immunization mandates, according to a Nanos Research poll in early August, with 74% supporting or somewhat supporting such a measure.
Reporting by Moira Warburton in Vancouver; edited by Richard Pullin
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